Two Spanish journalists and Irishman killed after jihadist kidnapping attempt

From the Telegraph

Two Spanish journalists, an Irish conservationist and a Burkinabè soldier have reportedly been killed after suspected jihadists attacked their convoy in eastern Burkina Faso. 

The Irishman was named as Rory Young, the co-founder and president of Chengeta Wildlife, an anti-poaching organisation, according to RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster. The Spanish government confirmed the deaths of the journalists, named as correspondent David Beriain and cameraman Roberto Fraile. Both were experienced journalists who had worked frequently in hostile environments.

Nusrat-al-Islam (JNIM), a jihadist umbrella group allied to Al Qaeda, has unofficially claimed responsibility for the attack. 

An audio message heard by The Associated Press that purports to be from the jihadist group known as JNIM, that is linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack. ‘We killed three white people. We also got two vehicles with guns, and 12 motorcycles,’ said the recording.

According to a local official, they were filming a documentary about anti-poaching efforts around the Fada N’Gourma-Pama area with a group of soldiers and forest rangers who made up a special military wildlife unit.

David Beriain and Roberto Fraile got out of their pick-up to prepare to take aerial photographs with a drone near Arli National Park when the attack began. Two vans and ten motorcycles with armed men appeared and began shooting, causing the members of the convoy to disperse, according to security sources quoted by the Spanish newspaper El País.

A security source confirmed that the Westerners “were working on behalf of an NGO protecting the environment” in the country, without naming the organisation. 

Burkina Faso was once an isle of stability in west Africa. But since 2015, jihadists under pressure from French and United Nations troops to the north in neighbouring Mali have slowly seeped across the border. The jihadists, some of whom are allied to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, have exploited the cracks left by decades of state decay and underinvestment to turn communities against each other. 

The country is now widely regarded as one of the most dangerous places on earth. Much of the east of the country, where the Spaniards were killed, has been largely off-limits to Western journalists for years.